The Atlantic Oils East Coast Thunder delivered a stellar day of drag racing in front of a huge crowd to kick off the 2019-20 400 Thunder Championship Series on Saturday.
In a day of upsets and underdogs, the Pro Stock final did not feature either of the top two qualifiers. Wayne Daley, who started from the number one position and survived a close race courtesy of a start line advantage in round one over Victorian Chris Soldatos, fell in the semi finals to a resurgent Jason Hedges.
Hedges would do battle with reigning champion Aaron Tremayne in the final round, Tremayne taking a start line advantage by almost six hundredths of a second. At the finish line though, it was all Hedges who ran a 7.01 (his quickest pass of the event) to a 7.07 for a margin of four thousandths of a second and his first ever win in the 400 Thunder Pro Stock category.
Top Fuel was yet again a spectacle to behold with a side-by side racing all afternoon. The final was fought between the reigning champion Wayne Newby and the returning Peter Xiberras in the Premiair Hire Top Fuel Dragster.
Xiberras, driving a brand new car, disposed of Terry Sainty in round one, Rapisarda Autosport’s Damien Harris in round two and in the final round he took a slight advantage over Newby and extended the lead to the finish line, a 3.85 enough to beat a 3.88. With the win, Xiberras takes the lead in the 400 Thunder Top Fuel Championship.
Pro Alcohol saw the number one and two qualifiers meet in the final round. With both Gary Philips and Steve Reed recording runs in the 5.4 Second zone in the semi finals, a head to head matchup was exactly what the fans wanted to see. At the green light both racers were sharp but a 5.42-quickest-run-of-the-event from Phillips was more than enough to take down a 5.50 from Reed.
Pro Slammer turned on a fantastic show, and the final was contested between number one qualifier Steve Ham and Ben Bray in a strong return to form. In the semi finals, Bray eliminated front runner Kelvin Lyle with a 5.81 beating a quicker, but losing 5.73 courtesy of a holeshot at the green light.
In the final Ham took a start line advantage and extended the lead with a 5.668 matching his qualifying time to the thousandth of a second, and was enough to take down Bray’s valiant 5.75. Ham assumes the points lead in a bid for his maiden Pro Slammer Championship.
The Pro Bike final was contested between Glenn Wooster and Daniel Rabnott. Wooster was on a high after recording his first ever six second run in round two after a long night of repairs after engine damage on Friday night, and despite a lazy .185 reaction time a 7.04 beat a 7.48 from Rabnott.
Sportsman category winners were Joe Gauci – Pro Radial, Joe Khoury – Modified Bike, Paul Linnett – Modified, Paul Doblien – Top Sportsman, Peter Byrne – Supercharged Outlaws, Anthony Panetta – Super Gas and exhibition bracket Pro Xtreme - Joe Murina.
The 400 Thunder Series now moves to Willowbank Raceway on January 4th for the New Years Thunder.